On Wednesday night, Donald Trump personally threw one of his own supporters out of a campaign rally in North Carolina.
CJ Cary, according to the Charlotte Observer and Slate, really, really loves Trump. They've been exchanging letters since 1992—yes, exchanging letters since 1992. And he supports Trump for president, once putting 36 Trump signs in his front lawn.
On Wednesday, though, Cary tried to pass Trump a note showing support—"you must defeat lying Hillary and lying Obama"—while asking the GOP candidate to tone down his offensive remarks about minorities. He approached the barricades at the rally and shouted "Donald!" to get Trump's attention. Trump, however, didn't recognize his old pen pal, and told the crowd: "We have a protester." Addressing Cary directly, Trump said, "By the way, were you paid $1,500 to be a thug?" Then Trump told security to "Get 'im out" and Cary was ejected.
Hmm. What about Cary's appearance possibly made Trump think he was a protester or a "thug," and not his pen pal of 24 years? Was it Cary's clothes? Probably not: He was wearing a nice shirt and jacket, not exactly "thug" attire. What, then, could it be?
Here's a picture of Cary, on the right, being escorted out:
Trump's rallies have gained a reputation as sometimes violently inhospitable places for protesters. A group of black protesters in Alabama has even filed a lawsuit after claiming to have been assaulted at a rally. A video from another Trump rally shows would-be black attendees being denied entrance, despite having tickets. At still another Trump event where black protesters were removed, a black man from Ohio said he felt the crowd's anger turn toward him even though he had no plan to protest and had not uttered a word. And at another rally, a white Trump supporter punched a black anti-Trump protester in the face, leading to the protester's detention. Late last year, Trump instructed his supporters to throw out another black protester—"Get him out of here!"—and the demonstrator was hit, kicked and shoved to the ground. Later, Trump suggested in an interview that the protester had it coming.
So why, again, did Trump assume one of his most devoted supporters was a protester who needed to be thrown out of the rally? I suspect if Cary was an older white lady, this would've never happened.
Ali Gharib is a journalist based in Brooklyn. Sometimes he writes about bars and broke down cars.